By Alexis Flynn
ABERDEEN, Scotland--Mozambique hopes to export its first cargoes of liquefied natural gas by 2018, President Armando Emilio Guebuza said Thursday.
"We are doing our best to make sure that by 2018 the first trains are delivered to the market," said Mr. Guebuza, who is Aberdeen at a conference to promote Mozambique's nascent oil and gas industry.
The East African nation is on the cusp of becoming one of the continent's biggest energy producers following the discovery of giant natural gas fields in the deep waters off its northeast coast.
However, before any exports can begin, billions of dollars will have to be spent building the giant refrigeration tanks needed to cool the gas for shipping and developing port facilities big enough to house LNG carrier vessels.
Mozambique expects it will cost at least $40 billion to develop its natural gas infrastructure, including a plant capable of exporting 20 million metric tons of LNG and a local distribution hub that will service its domestic energy needs as well as those of its near neighbors, said Minister of Mineral Resources Esperenca Bias.
"It will be the largest ever in Africa," said Ms. Bias.
However, it remains unclear which international companies will build the terminal. The right to export LNG currently rests with Italy's Eni SpA (E) and U.S. explorer Anadarko Petroleum Corp (>> Anadarko Petroleum Corporation), the two firms operating the concessions where most of the 108 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been found.
Both companies are in discussions with the government about developing an LNG plant, said Arsenio Mabote, chairman of the state-owned National Petroleum Institute. "It is up to the concessionaires to decide," said Mr. Mabote, adding that he expects the talks to conclude in the next few months.
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Corrections & Amplifications
This item was corrected at 1605 GMT because it misstated the organization chaired by Arsenio Mabote in the last paragraph. He is chairman of the National Petroleum Institute, not National Hydrocarbons Co.